Places to Visit in Scotland
- Burleigh Castle, Perth and Kinross
This oddly shaped castle, with the road bending past it, is only a few miles from Loch Leven and its island fortress - Loch Leven Castle. Burleigh does not have the same historical connections, such as Mary Queen of Scots>, but has nevertheless had a colourful past.
Burleigh was the main seat of the Balfours of Burleigh family - the estate had been granted to Sir James Balfour of Balgownie by King James II in 1445/46. It remained in the ownership of the Balfours until the mid-18th century.
The present imposing castle was started by the Balfours in the second half of the 15th century. The tower house and a wall of a later courtyard with an arched gateway still survive. The round base with square caphouse on top which give the building its unusual shape, were built in 1582 by Sir James Balfour of Mountquhaine and Pittendreich and his wife, Margaret Balfour, who was the heiress of the Burleigh branch of the Balfours; their initials are visible on the wall. Inside, the gunports on the round tower still have their wooden gun-mountings on the sills.
The original tower house has lost its roof but you can get a key from a nearby house and view the vaulted cellar and the paved first floor hall. Access to the round tower is not permitted.
King James V> is known to have visited Burleigh and King James VI> was frequently entertained there (before he departed for London in 1603 at the Union of the Crowns, returning to Scotland only once).
There is a story that in 1707 the young Master of Burleigh fell in love with a serving girl. He was banished abroad but swore that he would kill anyone who married her. She did indeed marry (a schoolmaster from Inverkeithing) and when the Master returned he shot and killed the husband. He escaped execution by changing clothes with his sister. After a spell on the continent he returned to fight for the Jacobites in the Uprising of 1715. That resulted in Burleigh Castle being forfeited.
The castle is now looked after by Historic Scotland.
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